Kurby Court is the president and chief executive officer of TELUS Convention Centre. Photo by Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.
Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
The pandemic affected just about all facets of Calgary’s economy — especially the city’s gathering places.
But the city’s premier gathering spot, the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, is showing the way forward in these challenging times.
“We’re in the people business,” says Kurby Court, president and chief executive officer of TELUS Convention Centre. “COVID-19’s challenges aside, we are excited about our future as a key piece restoring Calgary’s economic growth.”
Among the city’s largest venues for events, the 122,000-square-foot downtown facility has long played a role in bringing together people from across the province, Canada and the globe.
That has made the centre a key driver of the economy in recent years. Of course, the pandemic has proven challenging.
“The immediate shutdown of national and international events really hit us hard,” Court says.
Despite COVID-19’s challenges, the convention centre has pressed on, including with its planned rejuvenation. Its team has worked closely with its partners to reimagine events, big and small, today, and in the future.
“Our commodity is space and in this environment we started thinking about how we could support the community.”
That meant having to rethink safety in the pandemic age, including working with all levels of government to create new standards for safe in-person meetings.
“Our flexible venue allows for unique and customized experiences while maintaining social distancing to support corporate, association and non-profits as they require space to come together,” Court says.
Indeed, when the going got tough, TELUS Convention Centre got innovative.
“We have converted one of our meeting rooms, for example, into a virtual studio,” Court says.
Thinking outside the box also led the convention centre to expand its role in the community. That included becoming an emergency shelter for the Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre this past spring.
More recently, bookings have come back — though gatherings are smaller than in the past for safety’s sake.
So far, so good, Court says.
“We’ve received multiple compliments from customers who really feel very confident regarding their safety.”
And the TELUS Convention Centre’s role will only continue to expand in the coming months as Calgary’s leading place for people to gather.
“Human beings are wired for connectivity and need in-person interactions,” Court says. “And so it is our duty to be that community hub that brings people together, safely.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.